» Orange County Excellent Public Schools (OCEPS) Initiative

The mission of the Orange County Excellent Public Schools (OCEPS) Initiative is to increase the number of Orange County high school and college graduates and to close student achievement gaps in order to support the sustained economic growth and prosperity of OC.

In support of this mission, Chapman University's Attallah College of Educational Studies is striving to create, disseminate, and apply knowledge in order to improve the educational outcomes of underserved K-12 public school students to ensure that young people can afford to work and live in OC.


Although once one of the nation’s most powerful high‐end economies, OC’s sustainable growth is unclear. According to Joel Kotkin, RC Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University, OC has a chance to emerge as a pro‐tech hub in the coming decade. With the highest combined technology and arts concentration of any major region, the possibilities for OC’s future prosperity are great. However, with its high cost of living, there is a need for high‐wage employment growth. There is a concerted effort underway by the OC business community to address some of these problems.

At the core of these efforts is the recognition that OC needs excellent public schools. The California Department of Education data for the 2015-2016 school year shows that only 51% of OC high school students graduated with the necessary requirements to attend the state's public four-year universities. Although this number is above the the state average of 45%, it does not bode well for high‐wage employment preparation.

Thus, we need an all out effort by our local businesses, academia, government, and communities focused on excellent public schools for all of Orange County.

ePrize Awards  

OCEPS Initiative ePrize (Education Prize) awards seek to foster collaborative projects among public school districts, districts and charter schools, and community organizations that ultimately seek to improve educational outcomes, and thus career outcomes, for underserved students in Orange County. 

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ePrize Award 1

Supported by a commitment from the Pamela and Andrew Horowitz Family, the inaugural ePrize (Education Prize) was awarded to a Parent Engagement Initiative (PEI) project that includes Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD), Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD), and El Sol Science and Arts Academy, an independent charter school in Santa Ana. Key stakeholders from each partner are working to share, implement, and customize AUHSD’s innovative Teacher Reflective Learning Walks (TRLWs) and Parent Learning Walks (PLWs) at public school sites in Santa Ana, California. 

Between 2018 and 2020, funded by a $100,000 per year grant for three years, the PEI ePrize project is striving to (1) improve student achievement, (2) strengthen collaboration among educators by allowing them to reflect on their instructional practice and share dynamic instructional techniques, and (3) expand the breadth and depth of parent engagement. The mixed-team partnership is transferring AUHSD’s program to new school settings in Orange County, across districts and grade levels and into a local public charter school.

See related news stories for updates on the PEI project's expansion of Teacher Reflective Learning Walks (TRLWs) and Parent Learning Walks (PLWs) at new partner school sites.

ePrize Award 2

Chapman University’s Attallah College of Educational Studies, in partnership with the CEO Leadership Alliance of Orange County (CLA-OC), invites Orange County public high school educators to submit innovative program ideas for enhancing and expanding Work-Based Learning (WBL) at their sites.

Programs proposed should focus on the following high-growth industry sectors:

  • Business and Finance
  • Health Science & Medical Technology
  • Information & Communications Technologies


Chapman University will administer the 2nd Education Prize (ePrize) challenge. Up to three project ideas will be awarded from a $150,000 pool of funds. The teams will also earn the opportunity to work with one or more of the three participating businesses.

Submission Deadline and RFP Documents


All proposals and supporting documentation must be submitted by March 19, 2020 at 5:00 pm PT.

Please refer to the RFP Announcement webpage and the 2020 ePrize RFP Guidelines for full proposal and project timeline information.

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